Inside the Beltway

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What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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An Inside the Beltway reader named Rich wasn’t impressed with a Pew Research poll finding that, in light of the economic crisis, one in five American adults “are following the example of first lady Michelle Obama and are making plans to plant a vegetable garden to save money on food.”

He argues: “People have been planting vegetable gardens long before Michelle Obama was born. She is the one following the example of everyone else.”


Stephen Drucker, the creator of the New York Times’ Sunday Styles section, who after steering Martha Stewart Living is now editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, says the “whole subject of ‘green’ wants to make the top of my head come off.”

Lecturing at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Mr. Drucker said “green is complicated” and “comes around every 30 years.” For proof, he displayed an entirely green issue of House Beautiful devoted to the environment from October 1949.

“The Scientists Behind Climate Control,” blared one of the issue’s headlines 60 years ago. Another: “How to Fix Your Private Climate.” An accompanying article suggested that Americans move to the suburbs to escape “indoor pollution.”

Another green issue of House Beautiful was published in 1979, asking: “Energy: Oil, Sun or Wind?”

On the same day this columnist was attending Mr. Drucker’s lecture, Katherine Bagley of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) wrote: “Another year, another Earth Day, another wave of ‘Green Issues’ on newsstands … or not. After three years, the springtime fad seems to have run its course, with a number of magazines canceling and cutting back their special editions on the environment.”

She suggested that “green fatigue” has now swept the nation. Indeed, CJR reported that the number of special environment issues last year had nearly doubled since 2007.

“This year, the tide turned mightily,” she wrote, with Outside, Vanity Fair, Discover, Mother Jones and others canceling green issues. Time and Newsweek even stepped back. Only U.S. News & World Report, Miss Bagley reported, produced “this year’s only truly cover-to-cover green issue.”


It might not have the star power or glitz of Sundance and Cannes, but in this increasingly politically charged culture of ours, the world’s top moviemakers - in surprising numbers - have embraced Washington’s first-ever political film festival to be held May 7-10.

“We are excited with the response from filmmakers - almost 100 film submissions from around the country and the world. And for an inaugural event that is quite humbling,” Gayle Osterberg, co-chairwoman and chief operating officer of the Politics on Film festival, tells Inside the Beltway.

The former vice president of corporate communications for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) says up to 15 films have been selected for screening during the festival. “We will announce them on Tuesday … and we are really excited about all of them,” he says.

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